U.S. Navy Pulls Another ‘Captain Phillips’

The Navy took control of an oil tanker that had been hijacked by three armed Libyans.

Hanks played the title role in the 2013 movie Captain Phillips
National Journal
Jordain Carney
March 17, 2014, 8:27 a.m.

Tom Hanks could have some com­pet­i­tion.

U.S. Navy SEALs have taken con­trol of an oil tanker near Cyprus that was hi­jacked earli­er this month by three armed Liby­ans, said Pentagon press sec­ret­ary, Rear Adm. John Kirby on Monday.

“The board­ing op­er­a­tion, ap­proved by Pres­id­ent Obama and con­duc­ted just after 10 p.m. EDT on March 16 in in­ter­na­tion­al wa­ters south­east of Cypress [sic], was ex­ecuted by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs at­tached to Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Com­mand Europe,” Kirby said, adding that the Liby­an and Cyp­ri­ot gov­ern­ments re­ques­ted U.S. as­sist­ance.

The seized tanker, called the Morn­ing Glory, is car­ry­ing oil owned by the Liby­an gov­ern­ment’s Na­tion­al Oil Co. Kirby said the ship and its cargo were “il­li­citly ob­tained” from the Liby­an port of As-Sidra.

The Liby­an gov­ern­ment has been deal­ing with nearly con­tinu­ous vi­ol­ence and up­heav­al for ap­prox­im­ately three years since the coun­try’s civil war in 2011.

And it’s not the first time the Navy has been called in to help with a hi­jacked ship. A 2009 res­cue of a ship seized by Somali pir­ates caught Hol­ly­wood’s at­ten­tion, cul­min­at­ing in an Oscar nom­in­a­tion for the film — Cap­tain Phil­lips — which fea­tured Hanks.

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